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British Mom Loses Baby for Christmas
January 11, 2008 permalink
Britain has abolished the difference between a doctor and a cop. Single mother Donna Morrell got the non-Santa treatment for Christmas: loss of her baby and harsh interrogation.
Torn apart for Christmas.. by social workers
EXCLUSIVE INNOCENT MOTHER TELLS HOW EVERY PARENT'S NIGHTMARE CAME TRUE DONNA'S ACCUSED OF ABUSING BABY
6 January 2008, By Tom Latchem Tom.Latchem@People.Co.Uk
A distraught mother told last night how her tiny daughter was taken away from her over Christmas after she was wrongly accused of baby-battering.
Tearful Donna Morrell rushed two-month-old Bonita to hospital because she feared the tot was poorly.
But the stunned single mum said social workers claimed she had caused serious head and arm injuries to the infant.
And Bonita was forced to stay in for four nights - even though Donna said doctors had initially discharged her.
The 26-year-old wept as she told The People how she was:
Ordered back to the hospital by police after she took Bonita home from casualty;
Banned from being alone with Bonita while her baby was being checked out;
Cautioned by cops and interrogated like a criminal; and
Barred from letting the tot spend her first ever Christmas at home with her family.
Heartbroken Donna said: "They destroyed any happy memories I should have had of Bonita's first Christmas and I will never forgive them for that.
"I took my daughter to hospital to get help and was treated like a criminal for it.
"When I asked how they could do this to a baby at this time of year they told me not to worry because she wouldn't remember.
"But what about me? I will remember it."
Donna added: "They kept saying it was in her best interests. "How can taking a baby away from its caring mother be in its best interests?
"I appreciate social services have to do their job and children must be kept safe at all times.
"But this incident was insane. There was no common sense used at all."
Donna said her nightmare began on Christmas Eve after Bonita - who almost never cries - began weeping.
The worried mum, of Ramsgate, Kent, thought Bonita may have been hurt when she accidentally slipped from her grasp during a feed.
And even though she could find no sign of injury, Donna decided to take her to the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in nearby Margate.
She said doctors found a tiny hairline fracture on Bonita's left arm which may have happened during changing or bathing.
Donna claimed they sent the tot home after fixing a check-up in a week-though hospital chiefs later insisted they had not discharged her. But as Donna went to leave, a nurse told her a bone specialist wanted to do some extra tests.
Donna, who was at the hospital with her dad Keith, was quizzed about howthe fracture happened - and about her personal life.
She said she was so distressed by the questions she begged Keith, 54, to take her home - ignoring medics who wanted Bonita to stay.
Donna told The People cops arrived at her flat later the same day demanding to photograph the inside of the home.
She said they also insisted on taking Bonita back to hospital to have her arm plastered.
But angry Donna added: "That was nonsense - even though we were there for four nights, her arm was never put in a cast."
She claimed cops told her they had been called in following a complaint by a ward manager.
Donna said: "The manager didn't seem to like it that me and dad wanted to take Bonita home for Christmas while they were quizzing me and said I neglected her by doing so.
"Me, dad and Bonita drove to the hospital in one car with the police car following close behind.
"We were led through the hospital by the officers. We were mortified.
"I was treated like a criminal when all I had wanted to do was make sure my baby was OK."
Donna was grilled again before two social workers were called in.
She was told Bonita would need a full-body X-ray and had to be kept in until the results were analysed.
But with no X-ray staff available till Boxing Day, Donna's dream of a perfect first Christmas with Bonita crumbled. She raged: "Everyone there went home for a nice family Christmas and there we were, stuck.
"All I could think of was how her injury could have happened.
"Had it been when I wasn't with her? It made me feel paranoid - it was horrible."
On Boxing Day, a doctor said Donna could take Bonita home.
But she claimed no one told the social workers - who refused to let them leave. And next day Donna was quizzed once more.
She recalled: "They told me they had found an abnormality in Bonita's skull and were treating this as a second injury.
They were talking to me as though I'd done it.
"They said I had to be with someone if I wanted to see my daughter.
"Once social services took control there was nothing I could do. I felt utterly hopeless and miserable."
Donna was then told cops planned to quiz her, Keith and mumSharon, 48, under caution about the injuries.
She said: "I was sick with worry and had barely slept for days, so mum insisted on taking me home for the night.
"It was hell being away from Bonita and I even rang the hospital at 3am to check on her.
"Next morning we had to go to Margate police station.
"The officer was nice - but being interviewed wasn't. I was asked about being a single mum alone with Bonita, if I'd ever lost my temper, even if I'd thrown her against a wall. But she never cries, so why would I lose my temper with her?"
Donna added: "I broke down at the end. I didn't know who to turn to - I felt like nobody believed me.
"Thank God I had my parents. Without them it would have been enough to break me."
Donna returned to hospital later that day - and said the social services' attitude suddenly changed.
They allowed her to be alone with Bonita - and the tot was finally discharged when the scan revealed she had a naturally misshapen skull.
Donna said: "I had so many emotions running through me - joy, relief, excitement at having my baby back.
"But at the same time I felt angry that this had been allowed to happen."
Bonita has now been assigned a social worker, who will make regular checks even though her mum has been cleared of any wrong-doing.
Donna stormed: "It makesme feel sick the way we were treated. I won't forget this in a million years. Hospitals should be a safe place to go, not somewhere you fear. Now I shall always be scared of them."
A Queen Mother Hospital spokesman said: "The injury was not normally associated with accidental damage to a child only two months old.
"We regret any distress our action may have caused but policies exist to safeguard the welfare of children."
Police said: "Of ficers attended an address in Ramsgate after the hospital reported an injury to a baby.
They investigated thoroughly before confirming no further action will be taken."
Social services refused to discuss individual cases but added: "It's standard practice following a multi-agency investigation to undertake a full assessment to ascertain what level of support may be needed."
Source: The People (UK)